Following last week’s All-Star Race, the NASCAR Cup Series is set to resume its regular-season schedule with one of its crown jewel events. The annual Memorial Day Weekend tradition is known as the “600 Miles of Remembrance” will continue on Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Every driver will carry the name of a fallen United States service member on his car during the Coca-Cola 600 race. Few races carry as much prestige as the longest race on the sport’s annual schedule. Bettors will be tasked with analyzing which drivers and teams have momentum coming in and who has fared well in this 600-mile race in the past. To find the best Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR betting picks, multiple angles must be covered.
The following outlines vital handicapping details and breaks down some of the best NASCAR betting picks for Sunday evening’s Coca-Cola 600. Analysis of the top driver odds and outright winner picks are also included.
Coca-Cola 600 Race Details
Year: 62nd Annual Coca-Cola 600
Date: Sunday, May 29, 2022
Time: 6 p.m. EST
Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway — Concord, NC
TV Coverage: FOX
Sunday is for our heroes.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 27, 2022
Coca-Cola 600 Handicapping Notes
With a total running distance of 600 miles, the Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race on the annual NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Often, this race can become a battle of fuel mileage and/or equipment longevity towards the end. Throw in the fact that this will be the first-ever 600-mile event for the Next-Gen cars, and there could be any number of unforeseen variables that impact the outcome of Sunday’s race. Such is the nature of the beast that is a grueling 600-mile event.
As for the host track, Charlotte Motor Speedway sets up as a pretty standard 1.5-mile oval. Prior to the repaving and reconfiguration of Atlanta Motor Speedway this past offseason, the two tracks were virtually identical in terms of banking and layout. That being said, Charlotte does not cause anywhere close to the same tire wear that the old Atlanta surface did.
From a handicapping standpoint, bettors should be sure to reference previous results from races on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Driver, race team, and manufacturer trends from those races and past Charlotte-specific stats are all worth incorporating into this week’s NASCAR betting selections.
Charlotte Motor Speedway Track Stats
- Length: 1.5 miles
- Surface: Asphalt
- Turns: 4
- Banking: Turns — 24° (progressive); Straightaways — 5°
Recent Coca-Cola 600 Winners
- 2021: Kyle Larson
- 2020: Brad Keselowski
- 2019: Martin Truex Jr.
- 2018: Kyle Busch
- 2017: Austin Dillon
Coca-Cola 600 Best Bets
Top 5 Finish: Christopher Bell (+300 at DraftKings)
The entire Joe Gibbs Racing fleet has been coming alive in recent weeks, and Christopher Bell has hardly been an exception to this trend. Ever since the road course race at Circuit of the Americas, the No. 20 Camry has been a top-10 car virtually every week.
Bell finished third at Circuit of the Americas to kickstart his recent surge. Aside from Martinsville and Talladega, two tracks that are hardly comparable to Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bell has finished top-10 in every race since. Including a tenth-place run in the NASCAR All-Star Race last weekend, that is a stretch of seven top-10s in nine races. On top of that, three of those races saw Bell finish top-5, and he came home sixth in two additional starts over that recent stretch.
If the race at Kansas two weeks ago was any indication, the mile-and-a-half program that JGR is running will be tough to beat this season. Bell was fifth in a race that saw Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas occupy positions 3-6. Add in the affiliate 23XI Racing cars and six of the top-10 finishers at Kansas were Toyotas. The combined progress being made by the entire organization and Bell as an individual in recent weeks is more than enough to justify a 3-1 ticket on a Coca-Cola 600 top-5 finish.
Race Matchup: Kurt Busch (+135 at DraftKings) vs. Ryan Blaney
Aside from winning the All-Star Race last weekend, Ryan Blaney has fallen off a bit in recent weeks after a superb start to the season. In fact, one would have to go back five points-paying races to find the last time Blaney had even a top-10 finish. Kurt Busch had a top-10 and then some just two weeks ago at Kansas when he scored an outright victory. Although he is not technically a Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Busch’s 23XI Racing team is a JGR affiliate. This lumps the No. 45 into the general trend of Toyotas coming on strong in recent weeks.
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) May 15, 2022
Busch also owns a distinct advantage over Blaney when it comes to historical stats at Charlotte. Over the last ten races on the oval, Busch has accumulated seven top-10 finishes and an average result of 13.3. Toss out a 38th-place DNF in last year’s race due to a flukey engine failure, and his average finish over the nine previous starts becomes 10.5.
Meanwhile, Blaney has just three top-10 showings and an average finish of 16.6 in his last ten Charlotte starts. Aside from having the hot hand after winning the $1 million check last week, there is nothing that suggests Blaney should be such a hefty favorite over Busch in this NASCAR betting head-to-head.
Top 10 Finish: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+135 at BetMGM)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. provides bettors with the ideal combination of recent success in the current season as well as strong historical data at Charlotte. Relative to other NASCAR betting sportsbooks, which have his top-10 odds priced as low as +100, the +135 price at BetMGM also provides solid value.
Starting with the current 2022 season, Stenhouse’s early struggles have long since dissipated. His recent run of success began with a surprising runner-up finish at Dover to begin the month of May. The No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team scored eighth-place finishes at Darlington and Kansas the next two weeks. Stenhouse also won the very first stage of the NASCAR All-Star Open last week in Texas to qualify for the main event.
As for his stats at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Stenhouse has quietly finished top-10 in three of his last four starts. One of the two in which he failed to crack the top-10 was last year’s Coca-Cola 600, when he placed 12th. Two of those recent top-10s were also finishes of the top-5 variety. Stenhouse placed fifth in the 600-mile race in 2019. He has plenty of darkhorse appeal for another strong showing this weekend.
NASCAR Betting Odds to Win | Coca-Cola 600
The table below offers a side-by-side comparison of the NASCAR betting odds to win the Coca-Cola 600 across three major U.S. sportsbooks. The top 25 drivers in terms of odds are included.
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1000||+900||+1000|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+5000||+5000||+5000|
If you are at all surprised to find Kyle Larson as the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR betting favorite, you haven’t been following the sport for the past year and change. Not only is Larson the defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion, but he is also the defending winner of this very race. In fact, it was a dominant performance in last year’s Coke 600 that kicked off NASCAR’s “Summer of Larson.” Although he only has one win coming into Charlotte thus far this season, Larson and the No. 5 team are certain to be players on Sunday night.
Two weeks ago at Kansas, Larson got passed late by Kurt Busch after his loose race car tagged the wall, and he still hung on to finish second. At another 1.5-mile oval in Texas Motor Speedway last week, Larson was on his way to repeating as the All-Star Race winner before blowing a tire late. Oh, and he finished runner-up in the season’s first race on an intermediate track at Las Vegas back in March. Toss out a pair of DNF results, and Larson has finished no worse than tenth in four of his last six starts at Charlotte. With Hendrick Motorsports, he has one start and one win. He is hands-down the favorite to win the second NASCAR crown jewel event of the 2022 season.
When it comes to finding value among the Coca-Cola 600 outright odds, bettors are crazy to pass up double-digit odds on the driver with the best average finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the last ten races. That driver would be none other than veteran Martin Truex Jr. Dating back to the fall race on the Charlotte oval in 2015, Truex has compiled an average finish of 6.9, four full positions better than any other driver. He has three outright wins over that span, with two of those coming in the endurance test that is the Coca-Cola 600 in 2016 and ’19.
On this day in 2019, Martin Truex Jr won the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte! pic.twitter.com/NxflSJNvHa
— NASCAR PICTURES (@Nascarpixtures) May 26, 2022
Although Truex has yet to score a race win in the current NASCAR Cup Series season, he is one of only six drivers that has reached the 400-point threshold in the standings through the first 13 races. If the last points-paying race at Kansas was any indication, Truex and the entire fleet of Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas are starting to hit their stride. The No. 19 team had to overcome multiple issues at Kansas, including falling off the lead lap for a time, yet still finished sixth. It’s only a matter of time before Truex is back in victory lane.
We turn to another former Coca-Cola 600 winner in Austin Dillon for our longshot play this week. In fact, Dillon’s first-ever NASCAR Cup Series victory came in this very race back in 2017. While there have been a number of poor showings for the No. 3 team at Charlotte in recent years, Dillon has been a top-10 car in each of his last two starts, and this includes a sixth-place run in the Coke 600 the previous year.
While Richard Childress Racing teammate, Tyler Reddick, has garnered much more buzz in the NASCAR betting world this season, Dillon has quietly been solid. This is particularly true at 1.5-mile or similar ovals like Charlotte. He finished 13th two weeks ago at Kansas, was ninth at Darlington and finished 11th at Las Vegas back in March. At the end of the day, Dillon is still running the exact same RCR equipment as Reddick. The fact that the latter is priced at 14-1 while the No. 3 team is left hanging at 50-1 to win Sunday night’s race is a gap worth exploiting for those in the market for a longshot outright.
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